The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman had to return to Dutch Harbor a few days early this week. The cutter and its crew were forced to turn back from a regular patrol in the Bering Sea when one of the ship’s diesel engines malfunctioned.
The Sherman has a long history. It was first launched in 1968.
“So the ship’s very, very old,” said Alex Oswald. He is a Junior Officer on board. He serves as the ship’s Public Affairs Specialist.
Another cruise ship arrived in Dutch Harbor Friday the Silver Discoverer is carrying 100 passengers. It will be in port only for the day. It’s one of eight ships slated to stop at the Eastern Aleutian port this summer. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Cathy Jordan said that number is up from previous years.
"The most ships we’ve ever had were 11 in 2009," said Jordan. "So, we are seeing a rise in ships coming this year.”
Two men have been sentenced in U.S. District Court to serve 21 months in federal prison for burglarizing the post office in Sand Point.
21-year old Sheldon Wilson Shuravloff, and 19-year-old Keith Lee Wilson, Jr., both of Sand Point, previously pled guilty to burglarizing the Sand Point post office in the early morning hours on December 28, 2014.
The burglary caused more than $15,000 in damage to the post office and shut down the facility for a week while the investigation and repairs were completed.
Billions of dollars worth of drilling equipment and support vessels operated by Royal Dutch Shell are sitting out in the Bay in front of Dutch Harbor this week. The company has plans to take most of that equipment north for exploratory drilling operations later this summer. Many of the local businesses could benefit from the oil giant’s presence.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Letter of Authorization today [Tuesday] to Shell. The authorization allows the oil company to “take small numbers of Polar bears and Pacific walrus incidental to activities occurring during its ‘Outer Continental Shelf 2015’ exploration drilling program in the Chukchi Sea” this summer.
In an accompanying email, Department of Interior Press Secretary Jessica Kershaw writes that “It is important to note that [the Letter of Authorization] does not green-light Shell’s activity this summer, nor does it preclude Shell’s proposed activity.” According to Kershaw, in order to proceed with exploratory drilling, Shell will have to comply with the “Letter [of Authorization] and strong federal oversight.”
The Transocean Polar Pioneer, a drill rig contracted by Royal Dutch Shell, has arrived in Dutch Harbor. The oil company plans to use the port as a hub this summer as part of their exploratory Arctic drilling effort.Tthere’s very little opposition in the tiny Alaskan town in comparison to that in Seattle, where some environmental activists went so far as to chain themselves to one of Shell’s Arctic drilling support vessels last month.
In the past year, a team of planners visited Unalaska to hear from the community about local land use. Since then, the planning department has been working to put together a land use plan. Anthony Grande is the city’s Planning Administrator. He said the new document outlines a long-term vision for Unalaska.
“The plan talks about what the land uses are right now as we speak today and makes recommendations about what the land use should be in the future," said Grande.
The Unalaska City council meets Tuesday for a regularly scheduled meeting.
The council will sear in a new officer to the police force. Taylor Carlson comes to Unalaska from Pulaski, Wisconsin where he attended a police academy. He will take part in an Alaska specific law enforcement training program sometime in his first year in the Far North.
Also on the agenda under new business is a resolution in support of funding for the sponsorship of the Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee.
Rallies to protest Shell’s plans for exploratory drilling in the Arctic this summer will take place in Anchorage and Juneau today.
The protests are organized by a self-described 'ad hoc grassroots group' that includes members of REDOIL, Alaska Rising Tide, Chukchi Sea Watch and the Alaska Climate Action Network.
Danielle Redmond is an organizer for the Network. She expects between 10 and 50 people to gather in front of Juneau’s federal building. In Anchorage, she says between 50 and 100 people are likely to gather in front of a Shell Gas station on Northern Lights Boulevard.